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Regional directors, representatives of the government agencies, and some private stakeholders together with Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. and other officials witness the inauguration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caraga’s new Science and Technology Center, as well as the groundbreaking of its Metrology Laboratory at the Caraga State University (CSU) Campus, Barangay Ampayon, Butuan City headed by Regional Director Lyndo Villacorta. (PIA-Caraga)

PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Electrification program for remote communities

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 26 (PIA) -- More households in far-flung communities are expected to benefit under the government’s Sitio Electrification Project (SEP) this year.

In the remote villages of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City alone, at least 1,466 household beneficiaries are being targeted to benefit under the SEP program in 2012.

The identified 36 sitios and puroks as household (connection) beneficiaries in Agusan del Norte and Butuan City as part of the P589.32 million SEP projects that will be part of the 833 sitios and puroks nationwide this year.

“We have already submitted these identified sitio and puroks to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for approval and implementation for the year 2012 up to 2015,” said Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (Aneco) general manager Archetic Horacio T. Santos.

It was learned that the government had set aside P1.108 billion to hasten the implementation of two major electrification programs – the SEP and Barangay Line Enhancement Program (BLEP).

President Benigno Aquino III has ordered Budget Secretary Florencio Abad for the release of the funds to the NEA to provide reliable electricity in the identified far-flung villages.

From the P1.1 billion fund, P518.92 million will be spent for the BLEP to improve electric services in 202 barangays (villages) nationwide, while P589.32 million will go to the SEP to connect 833 sitios to the nation’s power grid.

In Mindanao alone, NEA Engineering Division Director Jose Seguban Jr. said that in Mindanao alone, at least P250,181,104.61 are set to be released before the end of this month or early next month for the BLEP project.

Agusan del Sur has targeted 12 villages with funds amounting to P30,489,355.95 for the BLEP project.

For the SEP project, at least P87,210,400.76 is being allocated in Northeastern Mindanao or the Caraga Region.

The SEP and BLEP programs will allow the NEA to provide electricity to off-grid sitios and other un-electrified communities, as well as improve the delivery of basic services in the countryside so that power disruptions and other connection-related problems are prevented.

The government seeks to provide electricity to 2,341 villages, and to light up 32,441 sitios by 2015.

In the last quarter of 2011, upon supervision of NEA, various electric cooperatives energized at least 1, 154 sitios and puroks in Mindanao, and it is targeting another 376 sitios and puroks in 2012 in the southern island.

Meanwhile, massive reforestation activities are in the offing in the five component provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) committed a partial financial package amounting to P49.6 million for the purpose.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje signed an agreement with ARMM newly-installed caretaker governor Mujiv Hataman last January 9 concerning the implementation of national government-bankrolled reforestation project in the autonomous region.

Hataman on Saturday said the P49.6 million fund will be used to reforest “2,500 hectares of denuded and open forestland” in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan.

The DENR said the ARMM-shared sum is part a multi-billion-peso package for large-scale reforestation under the Aquino administration’s National Greening Program (NGP), which seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of forestlands across the country by 2016.

As this developed, former ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo lauded Paje for pursuing the earlier initiatives of the administration of ARMM acting Governor Ansaruddin Adiong that “gave impetus to greening campaign” in the region.

Sinarimbo said the Adiong government had put up last year a 300-hectare agro-reforestation project in Upi, Maguindanao, using a local fund and tapping the free services of Army soldiers and food-for-work rice assis-tance from the United Nations’ World Food Programme. (MUC with a report from Ali G. Macabalang)

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